Time to review something that has not been sat on my to-do list forever.
Lux’s quietly violent burst of lo-fi shoegaze fuzz We Are Not the Same was self-released early last month. Forged in Seattle in 2010, they quickly worked on a first EP entitled Disorders, which garnered them some attention prepared them for work on their debut album. In spite of the seemingly large gap between releases, they have been working pretty solidly on this, turning down a European tour (offered on the strength of their EP) in favour of continuing the recording process. Plagued by technical errors and lost data, they pressed on, embracing and incorporating these miniature disasters and imperfections into their work, allowing them to push them into different directions and trying things anew. The finished result is an album that happily does not wear this diligence over its true face as a masque, but proudly displays its scars.
The result is a tremendous accomplishment, with a wealth of ideas packed into its 45 minutes. Highlights for me are: The Window, which opens sounding not too distantly akin to New Order’s ubiquitous Blue Monday (which is admittedly a lazy and potentially dismissive comparison, where you could as easily argue that actually they sound like the distillation of the entirety of 1980s synth-pop; judge for yourself below) before pushing well off into its own stylistic territory; X, where Chandler and Rosen’s vocals complement each other most beautifully; and Blackout, a solid wall of bass that eventually dissipates into a heavy guitar riff that is itself quickly joined by bass and vocals just barely straining over the surface of all this activity.
There are, in my opinion, perhaps two throwaway tracks of the 13 on the record. These are opener Coroner’s Office and Candy Lux. Were it not for these, however, the record would lack a little of the sonic diversity it can stake a grand claim to. The former of these serves as a gentler introduction to the sonic aesthetic of the record, whilst the latter – the shortest track on the album – is a cyanide-sweet ditty before things get really dark and dirty in the second half of the record (but would perhaps have been better placed ahead of Cerebellar Ataxia). Here, A Study in Apathy (Drugs, etc.) has a lurking menace not dissimilar from that which is present through much of Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral.
I could go on all night pointing at elements of the record and drawing out loose and increasingly contrived comparisons, but the fact is that Lux are not unabashed about citing their influences – Sebadoh and The Magnetic Fields in particular – and this “smorgasbord” (their word, for I cannot think of better) does a great job of taking all these disparate ingredients and crafting something that is very much their own thing.
Below is their homemade video for The Window. You can also stream and/or purchase the album right here: